Centrifugal and axial-flow compressors are classified as dynamic compressors, or simply as turbomachines. In contrast to positive displacement compressors, the dynamic compressor achieves its pressure rise by a dynamic transfer of energy to a continuously flowing fluid stream. There is a substantial increase in radius across the rotating blade rows of the centrifugal compressor, which is its primary distinguishing feature from the axial-flow compressor. For this reason, the centrifugal compressor can achieve substantially higher stage pressure ratios than the axial-flow compressor. But the axial-flow compressor can achieve a much larger flow rate per unit frontal area. As illustrated in Fig. 1-1, these two types of compressors also have quite different performance characteristics. The centrifugal compressor approximates a constant head-variable flow machine, whereas the axial-flow compressor is closer to a constant flow-variable head machine. Neither description is strictly correct, but they serve to differentiate between the performance characteristics of these two types of dynamic compressors.

1.1The Centrifugal Compressor Stage
1.2Dimensionless Parameters
1.3Performance Characteristics
1.5Units and Conventions

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